WASHINGTON, D.C. - Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett today joined other trail enthusiasts, the Partnership for the National Trails System, the American Hiking Society, and other officials to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the National Trails System.
“Communities of times past—Native Americans and pioneers in later generations—etched many of these trails across our nation’s landscapes,” Scarlett told the celebrants at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Baird Auditorium. “Today, volunteers across America are our modern-day pioneers—pioneers in conserving these trails that we might enjoy them now and into the future.”
Volunteers who are part of the Partnership for the National Trails System contributed 721,000 hours of labor last year alone—and $8 million in cash—to support our nation’s trails, Scarlett noted. “I offer a challenge to America—let us each hike a mile, mend a mile.”
The National Trails System is the network of scenic, historic, and recreation trails created by the National Trails System Act of 1968. Found in all 50 states, these trails provide for outdoor recreation needs; promote the enjoyment, appreciation, and preservation of open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources; and encourage public access and citizen involvement.
"The National Trails System has become a vast network that today totals almost 60,000 miles; of the 26 scenic and historic trails, the National Park Service administers 19 of them,” said National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar. “National trails provide the spaces where young and old, fit and infirm, can find room to renew their connections with nature and their own well-being —please take time to walk them, paddle them, and share them with friends and family, you will be very glad you did.”
Today’s event featured a world premiere of color photographs by noted hiker and photographer Bart Smith, who yesterday completed his 16-year shooting trek of national scenic trails, covering more than 16,500 miles and 34 states.
Other participants in the anniversary events have included Greg Miller, President of the American Hiking Society; Ross Marshall, President of the Partnership for the National Trails System and Pat Noonan, President Emeritus, The Conservation Fund.
For more information on the National Trails System, see http://www.nps.gov/nts/.